Also posted at Truth & Progress
The Copper Salmon Wilderness
Oregon’s 4th district congressman Peter DeFazio and Senator Ron Wyden have introduced bills to create the 13,700-acre Copper Salmon Wilderness in southwestern Oregon.
This one’s for you, LoE:
“Now that the Republicans no longer control the Congress, there’s a possibility of doing a meritorious wilderness bill,” DeFazio said Monday. He said former Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., who was the gatekeeper for wilderness bills before he lost re-election last year, “hated wilderness with a passion.”
The proposal is enthusiastically supported by virtually every local official, the local chamber of commerce, Governor Kulongoski, and hunting and fishing groups. And for good reason. The area is home to one of the most productive salmon spawning grounds in North America. Its loss would be yet another blow to both the commercial and sport fisheries.
Friends of Elk River presents the case:
What would the Copper Salmon Wilderness protect?
- the headwaters of the Elk, Sixes and South Fork Coquille Rivers
- eighteen miles of streams used for spawning and rearing by Coho salmon and coastal cutthroat trout, both listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), as well as Chinook salmon, steelhead, resident rainbow trout and lampreys
- critical habitat for spotted owls and marbled murrelets, both listed under the ESA
- one of the last large stands of old-growth Port-Orford-cedar that remains free of the deadly Phytophthora lateralis root disease
- a wildlife corridor extending from the Grassy Knob Wilderness near the coast to the Wild Rogue Wilderness, the Kalmiopsis Wilderness and south through the Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion to the Yolla Bolly Wilderness
In effect, the adjacent 17,200-acre Grassy Knob Wilderness is being doubled. Click on the map above to expand it and see the location.
The bills are not yet available at THOMAS. When they are, Wyden’s will be S. 2034 and DeFazio’s H.R. 3513.